Fandango movie-ticket sales up

Web site reports 15% more sold over a year ago

The recession doesn't seem to be discouraging moviegoers from plunking down an extra buck or so for the convenience of buying their tickets online.

Fandango is set to report Monday that it sold 15% more tickets in the first two months this year than it did in the same frame a year ago, while advertising revenue jumped 13%.

And traffic at Fandango.com jumped 25% in January to 7.9 million unique visitors compared with the same month last year, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Fandango competitor MovieTickets.com declined to share data. Still, it's safe to say that both online ticketers are expecting big things in the immediate future. "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience" was probably huge for them over opening weekend, and both report that "Watchmen" is selling well ahead of its opening Friday.

Fandango was purchased by Comcast two years ago and is part of Comcast Interactive Media.

It's counterintuitive to think that, in an uncertain economy, consumers would pay more for a movie ticket than they have to, but they do in order to ensure a seat and avoid lines, said Scott Schiller, named to the newly created post of senior vp advertising sales at Comcast Interactive Media.

Schiller will oversee the ad efforts at Fandango, Movies.com and Plaxo.

"Our revenue base today is primarily Fandango," he said, "and it's well poised in this economy to gain share."

Schiller most recently was an executive vp with Glam Media. He'll report to Chuck Davis, executive vp of CIM and CEO of Fandango. Both are former Disney executives.

Schiller was also an executive at AOL, Sony Online Ventures and MTV and is a co-founder of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
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